Every so often people ask me “what is a NOG anyway?”. Many in our industry are aware of NOGs. But there are also many others, often exactly in the areas that need them the most, that have no experience with NOGs. Therefore a short introduction to NOGs is required.
A NOG is a Network Operator Group, and they come in many shapes and sizes. The basic idea is to get network operators together to exchange experiences and learn from each other. Whether this happens every two weeks in a bar or every year in a conference centre doesn’t really matter: all types of NOG are extremely valuable. They help raise the quality of the Internet by providing support and opportunities for network operators in their area.
Running the internet is still a relatively young profession, and because it is rapidly changing, it is often impossible to learn practical skills from books or other study material. Building experience by doing, experimenting and discussing is very much required. When a local community is not available to do that, the development of the internet in the region stagnates. A NOG brings in outside knowledge and experience and puts local network operators in touch with each other to learn and share.
How are NOGs organised?
Some NOGs are organised by commercial entities and are a for-profit business. Most NOGs however are explicitly not-for-profit and organised by volunteers. In some cases the volunteers have organised themselves in an official association or foundation, but in many cases the organisation of a NOG is done by enthusiastic people in their spare time without any organisational support.
Where do I find my NOG?
NOGs exist all around the world. Having a local NOG can make an enormous difference — especially in areas where foreign travel is prohibitively expensive or politically complicated, and where English is not the first or second language.
RIPE NCC has a very extensive list of NOGs around the world and an events calendar with all the (known) NOG meetings. Wikipedia also has a list of NOGs. See if there is a local NOG for you to join, and otherwise contact us and we can help you setting one up for your local community!